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The Rod Temperton Collection

October 5th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

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The man who gave us such classics as Thriller, Rock With You, Off The Wall and Stomp has died, and I won’t wait till the next In Memoriam to pay tribute.

Rod Temperton died of cancer some time last week, about a week short of his 69th birthday, which would have been on Sunday. His death was announced only today (October 5).

English-born Temperton got his start as keyboardist and main songwriter of the British funk and soul group Heatwave. As the writer of hits like the dancefloor burners Groove Line and Boogie Nights, and soul burners like Always And Forever and Mindblowing Decisions, Temperton came to the attention of Quincy Jones.

Quincy quickly collaborated with Temperton on songs for Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall LP, for which the Brit wrote the title track, Rock With You and Burn This Disco Out. And not only did Temperton come up with music and lyrics, but also did the arrangements. On many of the songs he wrote, Temperton would arrange and often also produce.

He co-wrote the Brothers Johnson classic Stomp!, as well as a few other songs for the duo. Bassist Louis Johnson and Temperton often worked together on other projects; it is no coincidence that the Louis Johnson Collection which I put together on Johnson’s death in May 2015 and the present Rod Temperton Collection share many artists and even a few songs.

Temperton wrote the three best tracks on George Benson’s Give Me The Night album (the title track, Love X Love, and Off Broadway), and in 1982 contributed another title track to a classic LP: Michael Jackson’s Thriller, for which he also wrote Baby Be Mine and the frequently forgotten but surprisingly often covered (and sampled) The Lady In My Life.

Later he wrote songs like Yah Mo Be There and Sweet Freedom for Michael McDonald, and Baby Come To Me for Patti Austin. The former McDonald song and the Austin track are duets with James Ingram, who also turns up on Quincy Jones’ The Secret Garden (which surely must have been intended originally for Michael Jackson).

And so to this tribute to Rod Temperton of songs he wrote, or in some instances co-wrote. As always, it is timed to fit on a standard CD-R (without the bonus tracks), and includes hastily home-arranged covers. PW in comments.

1. Michael Jackson – Rock With You (1979)
2. Heatwave – Boogie Nights (1976)
3. Brothers Johnson – Light Up the Night (1979)
4. Herbie Hancock – Gettin’ To The Good Part (1982)
5. George Benson – Love X Love (1980)
6. Patti Austin & James Ingram – Baby Come To Me (1981)
7. Luther Vandross – Always And Forever (1994)
8. Anita Baker – Mystery (1986)
9. Lou Rawls – The Lady In My Life (1984)
10. Karen Carpenter – If We Try (1979/80)
11. Bob James – Sign Of The Times (1981)
12. Michael McDonald – Sweet Freedom (1986)
13. Mica Paris – You Put A Move On My Heart (1992)
14. Quincy Jones feat. Barry White, Al B. Sure, James Ingram, El Debarge – The Secret Garden (1989)
15. Randy Crawford – Give Me The Night (Chill Night Mix) (1995)
16. Geno Jordan – Thriller (1983)
17. Marcia Hines – Stomp (2006)
Bonus Tracks:
Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979)
Heatwave – Mind Blowing Decisions (1978)
Quincy Jones – Razzamatazz (1980)
Klymaxx – Man Size Love (1986)
Diane Schuur – Nobody Does Me (1991)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    October 5th, 2016 at 21:42 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Lynchie
    October 5th, 2016 at 23:39 | #2

    A great collection of songs from a fabulous songwriter. Loved Rod Temperton’s stuff from Heatwave onwards. A massive talent and another good man gone.

  3. Dave B
    October 7th, 2016 at 17:45 | #3

    I think you forgot to write “The Lady In My Life” at the end of paragraph 6.
    Lovely heartfelt tribute that clearly couldn’t wait a month.

  4. halfhearteddude
    October 9th, 2016 at 09:57 | #4

    Thanks, Dave. I’ve edited he text accordingly.

  5. dogbreath
    October 10th, 2016 at 15:01 | #5

    Although not always my cup of tea it surprises me how many of the man’s songs I know and find myself singing or foot-tapping along with. I dragged out my 12″ copy of “Thriller” to give it a whirl and it looks like Temperton also played synth on it as well as writing the classic tune. Thanks for assembling the collection.

  6. Pete Reilly
    November 11th, 2016 at 12:54 | #6

    Thanks Dude. What an incredible talent this man was, a very humble, unassuming individual from the (few) interviews he gave, that I’ve read and heard in the past. Loved his material on the first two Heatwave albums as well as his many well and less well known tracks that he wrote and collaborated on.

    A great tribute here, so thanks again for putting this together to honour Rod Temperton, who will live on for decades to come in the music he left behind.

  7. Minooch
    July 2nd, 2017 at 06:03 | #7

    Rod didn’t write “Mind Blowing Decisions”, his Heatwave bandmate Johnnie Wilder did.

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